Written by Jen Fall
Photo Credit: Electric Zoo Festival
Picture yourself in front of a huge LED elephant among hundreds of friends that you just haven’t met yet. You aren’t at the largest festival in the world, but it certainly feels like there is just as much production value in New York as there is in Vegas or Miami. I had no expectations going in, but I was quickly blown away. I almost have no words for how incredible an experience Electric Zoo is. I always rave about my experiences in Miami for Ultra, but I must say, this year’s EZOO has taken the #1 spot on my list of favorite fests for 2017.
New York is a city I have always wanted to visit, so when booking my trip I made sure to look at endless reviews on tripadvisor.com, and spoke with friends who lived in the city. I assembled my rave crew who I met at Ultra earlier this year. We booked a room at the Bentley Hotel in Manhattan for only $200 a night, which is incredible for Manhattan. Ubers to the fest ran around $30 if you left before 3 P.M. (highly recommended) and leaving the fest had ferries, buses, and a long bridge walk, that I can’t wait to NEVER do again, just to hail an Uber after you left the island. Be prepared for this if you attend. They say the bridge walk isn’t bad… well, I’m an athlete and it was arduous. We definitely chose the bus route the last two nights.
Friday we started out our day with a notable set from Spencer Brown, then bounced around till Sasha and Digweed, the act who sold me on attending Electric Zoo to begin with. The best thing about this festival is that the stages are located all in a row, making navigating the festival very manageable. Finding your rave-fam is super easy, areas are easily accessible and there was no pushing or shoving to get to the rail, unlike other fests I have attended. For an old lady raver that was a huge benefit. I loved having the dance space to groove out. While we’re on the topic let’s just talk about the dancing for a moment. I have never encountered more shufflers in my life. One nice girl even attempted to show me how. I failed miserably, and possibly looked like Elaine from Seinfeld, but it was fun trying it out. I’ll keep working on my moves for next year.
Saturday was a busier day as they sell single day tickets (another plus for this festival if you are a local and don’t have enough time off to hit all 3 days). This was my busiest lineup day. We started our day with Blackgummy, who I considered the top set of the entire fest. I then found a new female DJ who blew up the 6 Points stage with her amazing skills. If you haven’t heard of Viviana Toscanini yet, you will soon. Rezz was a beautiful sight to behold, as I had never seen her live before. She took her crowd on a journey, outfitted in her famous led glasses. Then the rain came in. Guys, it didn’t just rain, it POURED. Of course it did, because Above & Beyond was slated to close out the main-stage that evening. I still have yet to see them at a festival without rain. Their set was beautiful, and someone of our group of friends actually PUSHED THE BUTTON!! After basking in that moment I bounced to Claude VonStroke to end my evening. If I could make 9 festivals instead of 8 this year, I would hit up his campout in October. I’m a huge fan, and he was the perfect closing to my evening.
After purchasing rain boots on Sunday morning (best $25 spent all weekend), our afternoon was a bit light, so we hit the group meet ups. This was the social highlight of the festival. If you are active on Facebook, there are groups for just about every festival. EZOO has a huge group and I met so many amazing people who do the same fests year after year. This community never ceases to amaze me. The caliber of people I meet while traveling for festing is unparalleled. Some of us continue to make plans for future festivals, which makes traveling more exciting and cost effective.
After the meet-ups and photo ops, it was finally time for the one and only Sub Focus. From start to finish, his drum n bass set was one of the most enjoyable of this genre that I have witnessed in over a decade. I am happy to report that not only is he highly skilled in his craft, but he is just as wonderfully sweet in person as he is on the decks. Fan-girl moment achieved. Armin Van Buuren brought the crowd into his usual state of trance, and even played one of my fave tracks. I bounced to Claptone and was pleasantly surprised! I forgot how amazing he is. I met the cutest little Pikachu in the back of the stage and danced with her until it was time for the set the entire crowd was waiting for – Deadmau5 and Eric Prydz.
Say what you want about Joel. He certainly does play what he wants. I’d liken their set to more Testpilot and Cirez D than Deadmau5 and Prydz, but it was nice to have a do over for his abysmal Movement set that was plagued with technical difficulties. The crowd was split, half expecting classic Deadmau5 and many seeing Prydz for the first time, and the other half blown away by the artistic, expressive techno bellowing throughout the festival grounds. I suppose I’m just a fan of being actively prepared for the specific DJ alias playing on stage. Just my opinion. Perhaps it is my heavy type A personality. I’ll keep working on that along with my shuffling lessons for next year’s EZOO. I definitely will return for the 10th anniversary.
Want to follow me on my festing year? Want to squad up? Send me an email at [email protected], Follow me on Facebook at Jennifer Dawn Fall, and Instagram @basicbitchery for travel updates!